The UK government will invest around £60 million of underspend from the Birmingham 2022 budget in the West Midlands to enhance the legacy of the brilliant Commonwealth Games hosted earlier this year. The fund will aim to increase access to sport and culture, boost the West Midlands’s reputation as a world-class host for major events and drive inward investment and tourism.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and Birmingham City Council to capitalise on the success of the Games and help more people engage with sport and culture in the region.
The funding will also be allocated to boost inward business investment and tourism and help drive further economic growth in the West Midlands.
The Commonwealth Games was backed by £778 million of public funding, providing the West Midlands with a refurbished athletics stadium in Perry Barr and a brand-new aquatics centre in Smethwick. Alongside these world-class venues, the £60 million investment will support the region’s ambition to host future major events.
This investment builds on existing legacy programmes already being rolled out. In partnership with DCMS, Sport England will continue to boost access to sport through a Birmingham 2022 kit giveaway. 16,000 items from basketballs to bibs will be gifted to West Midlands community groups in the coming months.
Birmingham 2022 was the fairest, greenest and fastest Commonwealth Games ever, delivered in four and a half years, rather than the seven that normally happens for a Games, and committed to a carbon neutral legacy. As well as having the biggest ever para-sport programme, the Games also awarded women with more medals than men. Birmingham 2022’s 11 days of sport was complemented by a 6-month cultural festival and the first ever Games-accredited business and tourism programme.
Birmingham 2022 was the best-selling Commonwealth Games to be held in the UK with over 1.5 million tickets sold, and the most watched Games on the BBC’s digital platforms with 57.1 million streams.